Identifying Effective Instructional Practices that Foster the Development of Algebraic Thinking in Elementary School (LEAP 5)


This project seeks to identify teaching practices that can be linked to students’ early algebra learning in grades three, four and five. The goal of the project is to use assessment data and videos of classroom teaching in order to create a tool that can be used to document effective instructional practices. This observation tool can then be used to support teacher professional development in early algebra and research about how teachers’ actions can be linked to students’ learning. The project is unique in its work to link an early algebra curriculum with understanding of teachers’ practices in implementing that curriculum and students’ learning of mathematics. The project aims to address two research questions. First, what profiles of instructional practice are associated with greater student performance in early algebra? Second, to what extent do these profiles of effective instructional practices vary by grade level? The primary product of the work is an early algebra observation protocol that will capture non-domain and non-grade level specific practices of effective teaching in combination with practices specific to early algebra. Videos of early algebra classrooms will be used to design the observation protocol, which in turn, will then be used along with student assessment data to identify profiles of instructional practices associated with students’ learning.

Funded by National Science Foundation DRL-1721192 (2017-2021

Principal Investigators

Eric Knuth, The University of Texas at Austin
Maria L. Blanton, TERC
Angela Murphy Gardiner, TERC
Ana Stephens, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Despina Stylianou, CCNY-CUNY

Project Staff

Ryan Gertenbach, The University of Texas at Austin
Rachel Hayes, TERC
Karisma Morton, The University of Texas at Austin
Ingrid Ristroph, The University of Texas at Austin
Amy Velchoff, The University of Texas at Austin

Advisory Board

Hala Ghousseini, University of Wisconsin-Madison
E. Paul Goldenberg, Education Development Center
Victoria Jacobs, University of North Carolina-Greensboro

Online Presence